During the first 10 years of my career in publishing and media, I worked as a magazine editor, book editor, journalist, and syndicated columnist. I wrote about a wide range of topics, from the environment to education to women's advancement to pop culture to pregnancy. I also edited writers covering equally varied subjects, many of whom focused much of their work on Latinos in the United States. My own work often concerned the state of Latinos in the country at the time, the first decade of the 21st century.
At my first journalism job—as an editor at Urban Latino, a magazine written for, and mostly by, Latinos in the United States—my sense of duty toward our readers was often accompanied by nagging uncertainty about how much information was too much information. I was not the only one; my colleagues also struggled with striking a balance between offering our readers upbeat and positive news and information about our communities, and covering less attractive aspects of being Latino in the States.
Once, I encouraged the magazine to run an article on the tension-ridden relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. At first, the editorial team was excited about igniting a debate on an issue that had at the time been getting a lot of attention in the world press. As I began working with the writer, I started having second thoughts. What would fellow Dominicans think? Would I be airing our secrets? Did other Latinos need to know about this? As the assigning editor, I could have pulled the story but decided to run it, since any reaction—and I fully expected there to be plenty—would be a step in the right direction. (A couple of letters did reach our offices, and we did print them.)